And we are back. Pretty much right where we started in March of this year. London is in full lock down. In fact our entire lovely island seems to be cut off from the rest of the world. We are stuck on the island for Christmas with a virus that has become even more contagious. But that is not all this holiday season as we are facing a double trouble. Covid and Brexit are the unexpected stocking stuffers this year. Instead of Star Wars we get the toilet paper wars. Somehow stacking up on toilet paper seems to bring peace to some people -- the other kind of white Christmas.
When it comes to celebrating Christmas I like to stick with tradition. Every year, no matter where I am in the world I would travel to Germany to see my mum and have a cozy German Christmas. This is the very first time in 43 years I won’t be celebrating Christmas with my mum. There is no way into the UK or out at the moment. We are stuck on our island this Christmas, so it is time to bring out the big guns to make our Christmas merry and bright. The single most important and strongest human super power: Gratitude.
This year was like no other
With challenges we never had to face before we are all looking forward to 2021. But just flipping the numbers on the calendar will not make it all magically go away. It will take some more time for things to calm down and get better so we better suit up and practice our gratitude and appreciation muscles.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, and confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense out of the past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” - Melody Beattie, author
I have definitely strengthened my gratitude muscle this year. It is not easy to find gratitude and appreciation when the ceiling of your existence caves in and it seems that there is no way out. When life turns dark and hopeless. We all have been there in some form or another. Tragedy looks different for each and every one of us. In the end we all sit in the dark feeling abandoned by good fortune or in my case sitting on an island together with a monster virus.
Finding the light
“"Went du denkst es geht nicht mehr, kommt irgendwo ein Lichtlein her”
(When you think you can’t go on there is always a bit of light coming from somewhere)
- My Grandmother
That’s what my grandmother always used to say to me and she knew what she was talking about. She lived through even darker times. Having to leave her home with two small children at the drop of a hat with her husband fighting in the war and then nearly losing her daughter. Having accepted the doctor giving up on her life. The daughter was my mum and she made it against all odds.
My grandmother’s advice has become somewhat of a magic spell for me in the past year helping me to see my situations in a different light. When it’s dark it is difficult to move forward even just choosing a direction to move into is hard. We are so conditioned to constantly move that just slowing down, pausing and paying attention to where a little light might be coming from isn’t an obvious solution. My grandmother’s whispers in my ear have helped me unlock even more gratitude superpowers in me this year. There truly always is a little light coming from somewhere however small it may be. I slowed down, paused and waited for it to appear and it sure was there. For me in the form of the gratitude from my zoom class participants throwing their gratitude right back at me. Dancing together might not save the world but putting a smile on people’s faces matters especially in times like this.
Devastation of a full lockdown
I have to admit being hit with the full lockdown news felt truly devastation to me. Not just because it severely impacts my life and business but every single person and business in the UK. Nobody seemed to be catching a break for Christmas. It’s a very dark and silent night. But the message of Christmas literally is the birth of light so there has to be some light somewhere on our island for all of us. And there sure is.
This Christmas the gift is the love we have for our families and friends, no matter if we are together or not it’s the feeling of being loved and loving that we can celebrate this year. The feeling of togetherness without actually being together. Connecting and staying connected. Having a kind word and a smile behind the mask for everyone who needs it. A crisis always brings out our human superpowers, so we stay calm and carry on here on our island.
Appreciating what we have right now and lighting up the night with as many stars as possible. This year will be a different kind of Christmas but that doesn’t mean it has to be a bad one. We all can flex our gratitude muscles a bit more. There were so many lessons learned this year and there always are more to come with or without a pandemic.
Things go south and it is up to us how to deal with it. Keeping our gratitude superpowers active and making space for some light to come in again and again is vital for our survival. A dark path is scary to walk on. By lighting up our path with gratitude and appreciation we might discover that there is not just on the path but many for us to take forward. Appreciation where we are and creating a clear vision of where we want to go can make our ride just a little bit smoother.
Wherever you are in the world stay safe through this holiday season and make sure to take a few moments to flex your gratitude muscle and send some light to your fellow humans.
When the story of Christmas in 2020 will be told one day. Let it be one of newfound appreciation not of devastation.
Cordula Neckermann is a BollyX Instructor and 500 hr Qualified Yoga Teacher. She can be reached at CordiPower.com